Rob Evans helps Scarlets avoid Champions Cup whitewash and compound misery on woeful Tigers

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Ken Owens who was man of the match smashed through a poor Kyle Eastmond tackle attempt


Scarlets 33-10 Leicester Tigers: Ken Owens helps Scarlets avoid Champions Cup whitewash and compound misery on woeful Tigers

  • Wales coach Warren Gatland would have been a happy man as he watched on
  • For the neutral it was sad to see the Tigers look ordinary on the European stage
  • Leicester fielded a weakened outfit but the performance was still unacceptable

Alex Bywater For Mailonline

Leicester continued what is statistically their worst ever season with another woeful performance as they were thrashed by a Scarlets side who scored first-half tries from Rob Evans and Ken Owens.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland would have been a happy man as he watched on from the Llanelli stands, but for the neutral it was sad to see a Tigers side look so ordinary on the big European stage.

These are worrying times at Welford Road. While it must be acknowledged Leicester fielded a weakened outfit here, their performance was still unacceptable.

Ken Owens who was man of the match smashed through a poor Kyle Eastmond tackle attempt

Ken Owens who was man of the match smashed through a poor Kyle Eastmond tackle attempt

MATCH FACTS 

 Scarlets: McNicholl; Asquith, Fonotia (Nicholas 58), Parkes, S Evans; Jones (Hughes 66), G Davies (Hardy 61); R Evans (R Jones 51), Elias (M Jones), Lee (Gardiner 60), Helps (Price 61), Bulbring, Kennedy, D Davies, Owens (capt) Replacement not used: Macleod

Leicester: Worth, Holmes, Owen (Aspland-Robinson 65), Eastmond (J Ford 40), Olowofela; Toomua (capt), White (Youngs 76); Bateman (Gigena 58), Kerr (McMillan 47), Heyes (Feao 61), Wells (Fitzgerald 59), Kitchener, Williams, Evans, Mapapalangi (O’Connor 70) 

Scarlets tries: R Evans (2), Owens, McNicholl, S Evans 

Convs: Jones (4) 

Leicester tries: Evans, Fitzgerald

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France) 

Attendance: 8,087 Star man: Ken Owens (Scarlets)

They simply didn’t turn up.

Geordan Murphy admitted Leicester weren’t up for the fight as his two-time European champion side were hammered in Llanelli. The Tigers continued what is statistically their worst ever season with another horror show which allowed the Scarlets to secure a comfortable bonus-point win. Head coach Murphy said: ‘The Scarlets were more up for it and were better physically than us. That’s disappointing. They won the collisions. ‘We were five per cent off and I can’t put my finger on why. We didn’t get it right.’

Scarlets led 12-0 at the break thanks to tries from Evans and man of the match Ken Owens, who excelled at No 8.

Leicester were just as bad after the break as Evans added his second and further home scores came from Johnny McNicholl and Steffan Evans. Will Evans and Mike Fitzgerald grabbed Leicester consolations. Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said: ‘Ken deserves praise. To play at No 8 on the big European stage shows what a team man he is.’

Both teams were out of Champions Cup contention before this game and Leicester rested England duo George Ford and Manu Tuilagi as a result while Ben Youngs was on the bench.

Scarlets also left out star centre Jonathan Davies and in front of a sparse crowd, the initial result was a low-key encounter. One moment of early controversy saw Matt Toomua escape a yellow card.

Geordan Murphy admitted Leicester weren't up for the fight as his  side were hammered

Geordan Murphy admitted Leicester weren't up for the fight as his  side were hammered

Geordan Murphy admitted Leicester weren’t up for the fight as his side were hammered

Leicester’s captain for the afternoon was hit square in the chest by a Gareth Davies pass as the Scarlets pushed for a try, but referee Mathieu Raynal opted against giving a deliberate knock-on.

The French official’s refusal to allow a scrum contest didn’t help the flow of a first half low on quality, but the Scarlets did go to the break ahead.

After a string of phases, Davies went close before loosehead Evans emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball. Jones couldn’t convert, but did add the extras after Davies laid on another score for Owens who smashed through a poor Kyle Eastmond tackle attempt.

The hooker – man of the match and outstanding playing in the unusual position of No 8 for the second straight week – celebrated raucously.

Davies went close before loosehead Rob Evans emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball

Davies went close before loosehead Rob Evans emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball

Davies went close before loosehead Rob Evans emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball

Leicester went from bad to worse in the second half as the Scarlets – who didn’t have to work hard for their tries – moved further clear. First, Rob Evans was driven over following a line-out surge.

Then, static Tigers defence allowed Kieron Fonotia to storm through a gap with almost embarrassing ease. McNicholl was in support to be given an easy run to the line. Jones converted twice.

Leicester hit another low when Mike Williams was yellow carded for a no-arms tackle on the rampaging Ed Kennedy and Steffan Evans quickly dived over in the corner.

Evans finally got Leicester on the scoreboard following an electric Jordan Olowofela break and Fitzgerald added another late consolation, but it was too little, too late.

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